“We love living in Lake Highlands,” says Marsha Holmes, snug in the formal library of her home, which is all decked out for Christmas.

“Katherine was a year-and-a-half when we moved here, and it was our first real neighborhood experience…I think that makes you especially appreciate this neighborhood – it’s very family oriented. Anyway, we sent Katherine to Merriman Park…and have had such great experiences that when we needed to move to a bigger home a few years ago, we were determined to stay in the area.

“This is my husband Craig’s favorite room, where he comes to play chess and maybe have a conversation with his ‘men’ friends.”

The Holmes, both accountants, met while working with Arthur Anderson in Houston before discovering the place where they would raise their family. Now their daughter is 12, and the family has grown to include 9-year-olds Stephen and Sarah, Diamond the beagle/basset, and a ferret named Lucy, after Lucille Ball.

Marsha says she has an added bonus: “I also have a friend, Jennifer, who lives in the neighborhood – I’ve known her since fifth grade in Bryan, Texas. Somehow we just ended up here, just 10 minutes away from each other.”

Despite the home’s size, Marsha says they “use the whole house – every square inch – but I guess like a lot of families, we spend most of our time together in the kitchen…after school, doing homework, eating supper. It’s a nice big room.”

Both the Holmes family and the home’s previous owners have volunteered the home to the Lake Highlands Women’s League for the group’s annual Christmas tour in past years. A good deal of the credit for the current décor, Marsha says, goes to decorator Julie Logan: “She’s great about finding pretty things for reasonable prices, good fabrics, which most people appreciate. And she picked all the wonderful colors, which is good. I can remember any number you give me, but don’t ask me to decide on color – it’s just not my thing.

“And what’s great about realizing what your forte is, and what it isn’t, is that it makes it easy to ask for help. With Julie, we got a look that is formal while still being functional and comfortable – keeping it cozy, which is what we like.”

Decorating plays an important role in the family’s home during the holidays. From the Christmas china to the towering glittering tree in the living room to smaller trees in each child’s bedroom decorated just for them, it’s a festive production.

“Stephen’s tree has Hot Wheels,” laughs Marsha. “Sarah’s has snowflakes, and Katherine’s has snowmen. And the tree in the game room has all the ornaments we’ve collected over the years.

“Christmas is a big deal to us.”